How do you decide what to write next?


Having recently come to the end of a second draft, I decided to leave the project for a bit so I can come back to it later with fresh eyes. However, that has left me with a hole; a screenplay sized hole that I need to fill. Like any of you writers out there I have a book full of ideas, bits of paper with notes on and concepts running around inside my head.

“You must be spoiled for choice,” I hear you yell.

Well, yes and no.

I have plenty of ideas, but I’m not sure which one to chose. Do I go for a thriller? Perhaps some comedy? A drama, a horror or what about some sci-fi? Or a comedy-drama-horror-sci-fi? Do I want to go with certain characters from a particular story idea, or perhaps there is a great scene I have been dying to write in another?

I find it hard to make these choices.  I’ve spent most of the last week or so working through ideas in my head in relation to a variety of possible scripts trying to convince myself that they are the next great thing for me to commit to paper. I really hope this means that I’m rubbish at decision making rather than I subconsciously hate all my ideas but, either way, it feel like major procrastination. I can kid myself that I am working as I try and figure this out, but it isn’t getting words on the page or research done. I’m going to have to make a decision soon, otherwise the guilt will start to to get serious!

When you are writing a screenplay, do you have plans for your next one? Or are you like me, limited for writing time, so you like to concentrate on one thing at a time? Perhaps that is half the problem for me? My writing time is precious so I tend to focus on the project at hand before moving onto something else? Maybe I need to get better at managing my time and multi-tasking on more than one project?

Ultimately I think I am going to head down a comedy route and part of that decision will be made through a need to challenge myself. I haven’t “done” comedy yet and we should all be challenging ourselves every time we put pen to paper, shouldn’t we? If every new thing is harder than the last, we can’t fail to learn and develop as writers.

I just need to figure out whether I want to go with comedy-drama, comedy horror or rom-com?

Or, perhaps in relation to this week’s Pixar Post on Endings, perhaps I need to go with the idea that I already know the ending for, surely that will make the rest of it easy?

So how do YOU decide what you are going to write next?

If you have any advice, tips or anecdotes about your own methods, I would love to hear them.

Feel free to comment below… or get on with writing your next screenplay!


Posted on April 24, 2015, in Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. That’s a great question. I have lots of ideas, but not that many stories, by which I mean stuff that I feel confident it could make a film if I wrote it well. When I’m in between things I go through a list, and it has less than ten stories that I feel I want to write sooner or later, and that list remains pretty much the same for years. Right now I’m working on a new script, the first one in years, and It’s a story I thought up many years ago: I was just waiting for the right time to tackle it.

    I don’t know about you, Mark, but my choices also have to do with personal moods, like for a long period of time when things weren’t that great in my life I tended to gravitate towards grim, angsty material. These days I feel like writing something lighter. (not entirely true, my new story does have grim elements in it, but compared to stuff I’ve written in the past, it is plain chirpy.)

    I think it’s a great idea your writing a comedy, especially as a challenge. Prepare for a world of pain!!!


  2. Thanks for that Angel… maybe I won’t do comedy then? 😉

    Joking aside I don’t necessarily chose projects in relation to my moods, but they certainly influence the way I write. I suspect many a project has changed from what I initial conceived because of how life was treating me and what was going on around me.

    And I do the same with a list – a number of ideas that I know I want to write and am constantly thinking about – until something else appears and Shiny Object Syndrome takes over… which is probably a post for another day!

    Good luck with the new script!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Thanks for that Angel… maybe I won’t do comedy then? ;-)”

    Nooo, absolutely write that comedy! The world needs more good comedies…


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